COWABUNGA RABBIT


Dimply Plum Cake
Thursday 25 September 2008, 12:03 PM
Filed under: cake, fruit

I went to an orchard with my parents and we walked away with almost forty pounds of fruit. Yes… forty pounds of PURE DELICIOUSNESS. While I stocked up on white peaches, my parents bagged up loads of Empress plums. I figured I should try to bake with plums since I had enough to feed a small army, so I chose this recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. The cake turned out beautifully and the colors were great.

Dimply Plum Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (oops… I used baking soda….)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional (I used 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup oil (I used plain yogurt)
Grated zest of 1 orange (sadly omitted)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (I used 1 teaspoon)
8 purple/red plums, halved and pitted (my plums were HUGE, so I only used 3)

Center a rack in the oven adn preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted witha  paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a mknute after each addition. On medium speed, beat in the oil, orange zest and vanilla. The batter will look very light and smooth, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing onlyuntil they are incorporated.

Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are non dry spots, then scrape the batter in the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes – during which time the plums’ juice will return to the fruit – then run a knife around the sides of a pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

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Bill’s Big Carrot Cake
Tuesday 22 April 2008, 4:12 PM
Filed under: cake

This is a recipe Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. The cake was super moist and not even that sweet. However, next time I’d probably omit the raisins and add more nuts. Also, I didn’t have another baking pan, so I just made the cake into two layers, instead of three. My family isn’t big on super sweet things, so I cut back on the frosting and I’m glad I did. The frosting’s suuuuuuuuppppeeeerrrrrr sugary. With the right amounts of it though, it accentuated the cake perfectly.

I’m glad I made a successful cake on the FIRST TRY (I have terrible luck with cakes)! Let’s hope I can keep up this insanity!

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake

Yields 10 servings

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • ½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting:

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.

If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.

To assemble the cake:

Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.

Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

Serving:

This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.

Storing:

The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it’s firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.



Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake
Monday 31 March 2008, 8:28 AM
Filed under: cake, fruit

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The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. I made this cake three times because I’m an idiot. Making the buttercream definitely has its issues, but overall the cake was very good. Maybe a little too sweet with a little too much frosting, but very good nonetheless since I still ate it, haha.

Ingredients [Cake]

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk or buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Ingredients [Buttercream Frosting]

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Butter two 9″x2″ round cake pans and line the bottom of each one with buttered/greased parchment paper or wax paper.

Directions [Cake]

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Whisk together the egg whites and milk.
  3. Put sugar and lemon zest into a mixing bowl and rub together until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
  4. Add the butter until mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in extract and 1/3 of flour mixture.
  6. Beat in half of eggs-milk mixture, then half of the remaining flour mixture.
  7. Add remaining eggs-milk mixture and beat until batter is homogeneous.
  8. Add in the last of the flour mixture and beat until smooth and then for an additional two or three minutes so that batter is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Cool in pans for five minutes.
  11. Run a knife around the edge and remove cakes from pans and peel off paper liners.
  12. Cool right side up on cooling racks until cakes are room temperature.

Directions [Buttercream Frosting]

  1. Put eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Whisk continuously until all the sugar is dissolved (it should look like watered down, but smooth marshmallow cream).
  3. Remove bowl from heat and using the whisk attachment of your mixer, beat on medium speed until meringue is cool.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add in the butter, one stick at a time, until smooth.
  5. Slowly incorporate the vanilla and lemon juice.
  6. Beat the buttercream until it is thick and smooth (6-10 minutes). It may curdle or separate, but just keep going.

Cake Assemblage

  1. Split each cake in half so that you have four layers.
  2. Line a cake platter, plate, or cardboard round with wax paper.
  3. Place one of the layers on your surface.
  4. Spread 1/3 of the raspberry preserves.
  5. Spread some of the buttercream over the preserves.
  6. Repeat for the next two layers.
  7. Use the remaining buttercream to frost the rest of the cake.
  8. Gently press the coconut into the frosting.
  9. Decorate however you desire.

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